Holiday at Home – What is it?
The children in our community in South Bristol have a holiday club, but what about the many older people we know, many of whom aren’t able to go on holiday? We decided to hold a Holiday at Home for older people. The folk in our over 60s group look forward to this annual event run over three full days in June. We often have a theme, perhaps ‘Railway journey’ or ‘I do like to be beside the seaside’, and we use the middle day for a day trip to the coast or the Cotswolds.
The day starts with registration and refreshments followed by a fun magazine-style programme of sketches and quizzes for an hour. After that, there are various activities which the holiday-makers choose themselves. These range from flower arranging, crafts, clock making, Scalextric, darts, carpet bowls, indoor curling and ten-pin bowling on the Wii.
At midday, we all assemble in the main hall for a short talk from a visiting speaker. A delicious home-cooked lunch follows, which everyone looks forward to. After lunch we have some form of entertainment ranging from homegrown sketches, film shows, visiting musical groups and magicians. We finish up with a cream tea or ice-creams, and on the final day, we have awards and prize-giving.
Presenting the gospel
Each day there is a gospel message at the pre-lunch gathering or in the early morning on the trip day. Most visiting speakers will take a theme for the whole three days. We have had some very relevant, engaging and effective speakers who have always been listened to attentively.
But it’s not just in the preaching that we share the gospel. Since we are together for three days there is an excellent opportunity to engage in conversations, really getting to know the people. Through that, we can share the gospel in a very personal way.
Encouraging the whole church with the task of evangelism
Holiday at Home is a mission event in which all can take part one way or another according to their gifts. We need help with welcoming, transport, setting out tables & chairs, decorating a hall with bunting, catering for the meals as well as serving teas and coffees and ice creams. We also need people who are willing to be directly involved with talking to the older folk and sharing the gospel with them. We discover hidden talents, finding those who excel in crafts or games or even stand-up comedy acts!
We have found it to be an exciting stimulus to the evangelism of the whole church. It’s an eye-opener to younger people who discover the massive mission field that is the older people in our local area. By seeing it as a church mission, the whole church is involved. We make sure that we communicate the opportunities and needs of the mission to the whole fellowship, young and old. Most importantly everyone can be involved in prayer for this mission.
The vast majority of the 35 to 40 holiday-makers are not from the church and have little church background, although there is also a core of believers as well as our dedicated team of ten retired church members. Most of the holiday-makers regularly attend our weekly over 60s Coffee Stop on Monday mornings. So we do have an opportunity to follow up and continue those relationships in our regular weekly meetings. We have also seen several people coming along to the Sunday services and some putting their faith in Christ.